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Posted on Dec 17, 2006 in Boardgames

War at Sea Preview

By Paul Glasser

The call to general quarters will
be issued early in 2007 as Axis and Allies Miniatures: War at Sea
starts to streak through the water. The new miniatures game will
be released in the first quarter of the New Year and includes 64
pre-painted plastic miniatures. A vast armada will be available
to players, who will be able to deploy fighters, bombers,
submarines, carriers, cruisers, destroyers and battleships. A variety of
navy factions will also be available, including the United States,
Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Some of the
most famous surface ships from World War II can be deployed, including
the Bismark, the USS Enterprise, IJN Yamato, the USS Iowa and the
HMAS Canberra. The starter set will include 9 miniatures, maps,
dice, stat cards, island cards, casualty markers and rules. Booster
packs will contain 5 minis and stat cards.


Each unit will have a
variety of special abilities and strengths. Very powerful pieces, like
the Bismark and Iowa will have a high point cost. Both heavy
battleships sport thick armor and enormous guns that can deliver a
lethal blow at almost any range. Other smaller ships like the cruiser
Canberra are cheaper because they have less firepower and armor. On the other hand, aircraft carriers like the Enterprise are a special breed of warship. Although it lacks fire power, the Enterprise offers
several special abilities that boost the combat effectiveness of
allied fighters and bombers. Because of its legendary ability to absorb
damage, the Enterprise is also designated as a "survivor" and has a
small chance to avoid destruction whenever it receives a lethal

Combat in War at Sea is much more complicated than in the
preceding land-based tactics of Axis and Allies miniatures. Each ship
has a variety of attack strengths, including main guns, anti-air
artillery and anti-submarine abilities. Airplanes can drop bombs
or torpedoes and some battleships can even make secondary and
tertiary attacks against other surface ships. Attacks are made by
rolling a number of die according to the range and relative strength of
the aggressor’s guns. Hits are scored by rolling a 4 or 5, but  a
6 results in double hits. The results are compared to the
defender’s armor. If the number of hits are equal to or exceed the
target’s armor rating, the defender is damaged. Otherwise, the
attack fails. A target may be destroyed if the attack scores a
number of hits equal to or greater than the target’s "vital

Torpedo attacks are resolved last, and are rolled just
like normal attacks. However, hits only occur on a die result of 6, but
do double damage. Some ships, like the Bismark and Iowa, are resistant
to torpedo attacks. Ships that are damaged suffer no penalties,
but may lose some special abilities. However, targets are
"crippled" when their "hull points" are reduced to one. Each damage
counter reduces the number of remaining "hull points" by one.
Crippled ships suffer a -1 penalty to armor, vital armor, speed and
torpedo attacks. When a crippled ship attacks other ships, planes and
submarines, hits are only scored on a result of 5 or 6 as well.
Ships are destroyed when the hull points are reduced to zero.When aircraft are deployed, and additional four phases are added to each
turn. Planes move during the "Air Mission" phase and units with AA
abilities may try and prevent planes from attacking during the
"Air Defense" phase.

An AA attack may cause a plane to abort its
mission by scoring hits equal to or greater than it’s armor
rating. The plane is destroyed if the number of hits equal or exceed its
vital armor rating. During the "Air Attack" phase, planes may target
enemy ships and submarines. Units may only attack an enemy in
the same sector. Survivors return home during the final phase of
air combat.

Engagements occur on 30"x40" battlemaps. Rare
units will be larger than other minis and include distinctive
markings and moveable turrets.